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Sierra Leone’s main opposition demands presidential election re-run

SIERRA LEONE’S main opposition party on Saturday demanded a rerun of last weekend’s presidential poll after they alleged the “naked theft” of the election by the incumbent.

The demand came after Julius Maada Bio was declared the winner and given a second term as president.

The opposition All People’s Congress party (APC) accused Sierra Leone’s electoral commission of conspiring with President Bio’s party to rig the results. 

In a statement, the party also called for the resignation of electoral commission chairman Mohamed Konneh and his entire team.

The statement from the APC said: “What culminated in the rogue announcement of fraudulent election results on June 25 was not just a naked theft of the votes of the suffering masses who needed change, it represents the biggest threat to our democracy, unity and survival as a nation.”

According to official results, Mr Bio received 56.17 per cent of the vote, enough to beat his main challenger Samura Kamara, who received 41.16 per cent. 

Mr Bio, who was swiftly sworn into his second term days after the vote, tweeted for “all Sierra Leoneans to be peaceful and law-abiding.”

“This is a collective victory for every citizen and we must come together now that elections are over for the pursuit of a common goal, which is the development of our dear country,” Mr Bio tweeted.

There have been concerns that Sierra Leoneans who dispute the election’s outcome could take to the streets.

Already the west African nation has seen demonstrators protest the state of the economy in recent months.

Nearly 60 per cent of Sierra Leone’s population of more than seven million are facing poverty, with youth unemployment being one of the highest in west Africa.

Regional observers from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States declared the elections free and fair, but some Western observers have stressed that some parts of the electoral process lacked transparency. 

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